Reading was my number one “hobby.” I listed it first on all online profiles, job applications, and college questionnaires during my high school days. Geek alert, eh? Somehow, though, in between reading 50+ pages per class hour in college and discovering the glorious world of mind-numbing Netflix, reading became an afterthought instead of the primary pasttime.
My summer of appendicitis changed all that, though; there’s only so much TV to be tolerated during six weeks of hospitals and recovery and then another month (ish) of convalescing. Friends loaned, gifted, suggested books that kept me entertained.
In the eighteen-ish months since that season of illness, I have continued my reading frenzy thanks to Amazon Kindle. I will always prefer the smell, feel, and pleasure of a new book in my hand, but for voraciously reading (I devoured thirteen books during my flights to and from Asia a couple years ago), for reading on multiple devices, for versatile reading, Amazon Kindle is my modus operandi.
(Plus! By utilizing the “free” book search, I can discover new authors without investing in their books until I know that I love their work!)
Some of my favorite books in the past year (and a bit) are these specimens of historical fiction, fantasy, and autobiography.
I’ve never recommended a book as often as I recommended Homer’s Odyssey. And no book is as confusing to recommend as Homer’s Odyssey. Easily confused with The Odyssey by Homer, this is the story of a blind cat who can defy all odds and live a full life while teaching Gwen about truly living. Rescued by the author, Gwen describes Homer’s escapades with engaging humour. I’m not sure I’ve ever laughed out loud as many times over any other book. Add to the mix that this cat lived through 9/11 in New York City? It’s a tear jerker AND a comedy.
I had a little trouble reading this book, since it deals with that dreaded “C” word and my Mom is walking cancer treatments, but I loved the retelling of an Austen story in modern day; it helps that Seattle is a quick two hours from my doorstep, so it felt like it was set in my backyard!
Ella Cheever Thayer
With a title like “Wired Love”, I assumed a modern day online romance. Written decades before online dating, though, Ella Cheever Thayer sets the stage for love across the modern marvel known as the telegraph. She could’ve been writing today, or at least as a foreshadowing of today. I loved stepping back in time and realizing how universal humanity’s trials are across time and space.
If you like Jane Austen’s world and work, you are sure to love Jessica Dotta. When I first discovered her books (thanks to Rachelle Rea’s recommendation!), I fell in love with the intricate storyline and mysterious-yet-relatable characters. Having spent the past couple years counting down the months until each new installment released, I think I can call myself a hardcore fan.
Reading the beautifully woven tale of Dirk and Gwyn’s journey through the tension between Protestant England and Catholic Holland is entertaining and through-provoking. I bought my copy of The Sound of Diamonds to support my Kindred Grace teammate but bought my copy of The Sound of Silver because I loved the story. The countdown now continues until the trilogy is completed by The Sound of Emeralds later this year.
Having married into a Dutch family, reading a series flavored with Dutch phrases is automatically intriguing but reading such a good tale is downright enjoyable.
As a self-described cat lady, reading a fantasy novel about a talking cat is surprisingly natural . . . even though fantasy is my least favorite genre. But cozied on my couch with two attentive cats, I easily lost myself in Essie’s magical world led by an attentive, conceited, sometimes snotty best friend who just happens to be feline. While the book is considered juvenile fiction, I loved its wild whimsy.